In January, we celebrated #NationalMentoringMonth along with many other organizations across the country that find mentoring to be pivotal to a young adult’s future successes. At Arizona’s Children Association, we serve a population of young adults that have experienced foster care, spending an average of 12 months in the system. Often times, living with those who are not their biological family and they will most likely ‘age out’ of foster care.
Transitioning into adulthood is never easy, and doing it alone makes it even harder. Our goal is it to find adults who care about teens and want to support them as they rise and fall in their journey of early adulthood.
Our Thrive Mentor Program serves more than 1,000 teens across the state by assisting them in gaining skills for self-sufficiency. Thrive aims to support foster care youth between the ages of 16 and 21 by matching them with volunteer mentors to help empower them on their road to independence.
We asked a few of our mentors what mentoring means to them, here is what they had to say:
“Why do I mentor? I mentor to give back. I wish I would have had someone to mentor me when I was a young adult. Plus, it gives me something to do. I have very little family here. Mentoring is important to me because it helps me feel good and I enjoy my mentee’s company. I get as much if not more out of my relationship with my Mentee as she does.”
“As a mentor I hope to have a positive influence on my mentee. I hope the things we do and discuss will better the chances of my mentee having a rewarding and successful life within his family and career.”
“For me, being a mentor means possessing a unique, life-changing influence over a young woman’s life. I hope to use that power for good, to help my wonderful and worthy mentee.”
“I’m reminded of the story where the guy is on the beach with thousands of starfish and he’s picking one up and throwing it back into the water. When he’s told he can’t make a difference with all the starfish on the beach he replies that he made a difference for that one. Mentoring is like making a difference for that one.”
“I’ve so enjoyed building my relationship with my mentee and watching her blossom and grow. She inspires me with her positivity and courage. I’m so glad to have been able to get to know her.”
Our teens got the opportunity to express their gratitude for having a mentor, here are some of their responses:
“My mentor has been there for me whenever I needed someone to talk to, whether or not it be day or night. She spends time with me and texts me all the time… just as a friend would. A good person to me is someone who puts others in front of them. Someone who always wants to share happiness.
“She is really good at guiding me and giving me advice in order to succeed in life. A good person for me is someone who enjoys helping others. Also someone who can make an impact or a difference in someone’s life. She has impacted my life in many ways and I just love her company.”
“My mentor is a very good support. She took a big step in coming to my meetings and supporting my decisions and goals. The most important thing is my mentor has my back”
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the years. You’ve taught me a lot about loving myself and doing what is right. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor. I love you! I’m so glad to call you family. I’m looking forward to many more years with you.”
The power of mentoring truly changes lives! Those who have participated in our Thrive Mentor Program have gained life-long friends that they both can depend on.